The Trial of Colonel Sweeto
By Nicholas Gurewitch
To suggest that Nicholas Gurewitch’s strip, Perry Bible Fellowship, is one of the most consistenly hilarious webcomics of all time is hardly hyperbole. In fact, such a statement seems downright conservative. The strip is, to my mind, an incredibly strong contendor for the funniest webcomic of all time. Reading PBF, on a regular basis, for some time now, I’m hard-pressed to recall an instance where I didn’t find myself, at the very least, silent chortling at a punchline.
In spite of the name, which sardonically implies short bursts of coherent narrative structure, The Trail of Colonel Sweeto is more of a ‘greatest hits’ of PBF strips. There’s a single paragraph intro by underground comics’ genius in residence, Jim Woodring, and handful of deleted strips with short justifications for their exclusion by Gurewitch, but otherwise the book maintains a two strip per page format throughout the collection. It’s likely for the better—one suspects that if Gurewitch were to meddle with his delicate formula for coherent absurdity, things might begin to fall apart.
This isn’t to suggest, of course, that Gurewitch is somehow lacking in artistic breadth. PBF demonstrates uncanny diversity, rarely repeating characters and drastically shifting artistic styles from strip to strip.
Fans of PBF already know how essential this Dark Horse collection is. For those unfamiliar, $15 is small price to pay for a 94-page Wonka-Vision trip through the strategically twisted mind of Nicholas Gurewitch.